ASB 2011 was honestly the best trip of my life. When I found myself at the planning meeting I could not honestly have known that I would have gotten so close to as many people as I did on the trip. The trip brought friendship, community, accomplishment, understanding, hard work, rewards, and so much more.
When I got to Kendra's house the night before we all left everyone was bubbling over with excitement. Those who had been on the trip last year understood what we were about to embark on, and those who hadn't, myself included, barely had a taste of what was in-store for us. After a very quick 2 hours of sleep the alarms started going off and we were on our way to New Orleans. When we finally arrived in New Orleans and got to our destination, of the church, we were all exhausted but still buzzing with the excitement of being somewhere new.
The first full day we were in LA we got to sightsee, seeing the devastation that was still affecting our own country because of something that happened over 5 years ago was heartbreaking. But it was really encouraging to see new homes being built, and neighborhoods that have been recovered. I was really glad that we saw the devastation of the city before we began working because it helped me to understand the circumstances the people who we were doing Habitat for came from.
The work we did during our workdays is the reason we all got so close. We didn't have a choice but to get close. Personally I worked on the roof for 3 out of the 4 work days and it was such a sense of accomplishment to see the roof beginning to where we left it in the end. The kinds of things we did included dragging plywood across the bare structure of the roof to nail it into place, laying down a protective barrier to keep out moisture, and finally we nailed in shingles.
It's hard to pin-point exactly when during the trip we all started working as individuals and came together to accomplish one common goal, but that was a vital point of the trip. When we let ourselves break down the 'stereotypical barriers' that the school community has and started working as a group regardless of who we were interacting with is when we really made the difference. That is also what set this trip apart from any other work/mission trip that I've been on before, and what made it honestly the best trip I've been on thus far.
It's really hard to put into words exactly the feeling that we all had at the end of the trip. We all definitely knew each other better then we could have even expected at the beginning of the week. And there was a sense of excitement to get back to everyday life. But there was also a clear sense of sadness that we were all leaving something that we had worked so hard on during the prior week.
Looking back on the trip now I can't express how glad I am that I went on the trip. It definitely made an impact on my life that I will never forget. I am so glad for the work we did and I feel so rewarded by the sense of accomplishment that I have.
To everyone who went on the trip; thank you for the memories, experiences, and laughs that we share. Each one of you is incredibly driven and can accomplish amazing things in your lifetime. Stays focused on the goal and live each day to its potential. I hope that you take the lesson that you learned on the trip and apply them to your own life (no matter what they are). Thank you all, and I hope you all are successful in where ever life brings you.
- Erin :)